Learning to navigate any voice assistant can present a learning curve. And that’s true with Siri, too. Sure, the A.I. on your iOS devices is entertaining. But there are some tricks to getting her to do what you want when you want.
Wherever you’re chatting with Siri—from your iPhone to iPad to Apple Watch, Mac, and more—using these commands can boost productivity. You’ll also reduce the lag time from attempting less impactful phrases.
If you can’t talk to Siri, the feature may be turned off. To turn on Siri, go to Settings > Siri & Search and toggle Press Home for Siri on. Once activated, there are a few ways that you can activate Siri.
- Press and hold the Home or Side button.
- Go to Settings > Siri & Search and enable Listen for “Hey Siri”. Once done, you can activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri” out loud.
- If you’re using the Earpods, press and hold the center button.
- If you have an Apple Watch, you can activate Siri by double-tapping the button below the crown.
- If you’re using AirPods, double-tap on either pod.
- If you’re using a Mac, click on the Siri icon in the menu bar.
Commands for calling, voicemail, messages, and email
- “Call [name or number].”
- “Facetime [name or number].”
- If you want to start a call on speakerphone, you can say “Call [name or number] on speaker.”
- “Check my voicemail” or “Check voicemails from [name].“
- “Check my messages” or “Check my email.”
- “Read my new messages” or “Read my new email.”
- “Send an email to [name].” Siri will then ask you to provide the subject and message. You can also say the entire command at once like this: “Send an email to [name], about [what you say here will be the subject], and say [what you say here will be the message].”
Commands to control your device’s setting
- “Turn on/off [Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data, Do Not Disturb, Night Shift, or Airplane Mode].“
- “Take a picture/selfie.”
- “Increase/decrease brightness.”
- When playing music, you can say, “Turn up/down the volume.”
- Open [app or game].
Commands for currency conversions, calculations, and timers
- “What is [say the amount and name of currency] into [say the name of the currency].“
- You can also convert any other measurements. For example: “What are 335 meters into feet?”
- “What is [number] plus/minus/divided/multiplied by [number]” or “What is the square root of [number].”
- “Set a timer for [say the amount of time].“
- “Set an alarm for [time].“
- To calculate a tip, you can say “What is [percentage] of [number]?”
- “What is [say the name of the company] stock price?”
- “What is the weather like today?” or “What is the weather like in [say the country or city].“
- “What is the time in [say the country or city].“
Commands for setting appointments, alarms, lists, and reminders
- “Check my meetings.”
- “Schedule a meeting with [name] at [day and time].”
- “Remind me to [say what to remind you about] at [say when you want Siri to remind you].” You can also add a location to your reminder. For example: “Remind me to call John when I get home.”
- If you need to know what day falls on a certain date, you can ask “What day is December 25?” Alternatively, you can say “How many days until December 25?”
- “Make a list called [name of list].”
- “Add items to the list [name of list].”
Navigating and travel commands
- “Show me the nearest [gas stations/type of restaurants/malls/etc.].“
- “How do I get to [destination] by [car/foot/bike].“
- “Take me home.”
- “What are the traffic conditions” or “What are the traffic conditions near [name location].“
- “How long until we arrive at [destination].”
- “Check flight status of [airline and flight number].”
- “Show me the bus route to [destination].”
- “Do I need an umbrella?”
- “Open [name of app].“
- “Define [word].”
- “Search the App Store for [name of app or category of apps].”
- Ask any question and Siri will search the internet. For example: “How do you cook an omelet?”
- “Find notes/email about [say some keyword related to what you’re searching for].”
- “Find friends near me” or “Where is [name of friend].”
- Find photos by saying, “Show me photos from [date] or of [name — if you have assigned names in the People album].”
- “Find/download the [name of artist] podcast.”
Entertainment, sports, and music commands
- “Show me the [sports team or game] scores.”
- “Play music,” or while listening to a song, you can tell Siri to “pause/stop/skip” or “play the next/previous song.”
- “Play [name of song].”
- “Like this song”
- “What is this song?”
- “Play more like this.”
- “Play songs from [group or artist].“
- “Play top songs from [year].”
- “What movies are playing near me?” or “What are the movie showtimes for [name of movie/name of cinema].“
Using third-party apps
Apart from the ability to open apps, Siri can also perform actions or jump deep into specific apps to bring you the information you want. Siri will monitor the way you use apps and suggest Siri Shortcuts. You’ll find these suggestions in Settings > Siri & Search. If you tap to add one, you can then record a phrase that will then trigger that shortcut. For example, you might say “Order the usual” to trigger a food order in the Caviar app, or “Take the scenic route” to avoid traffic in Waze. You can even make up shortcuts that can combine custom actions in multiple apps.
Unfortunately, there’s no official list of apps that support Siri Shortcuts, but this Reddit post lists a lot of them and what you can do with them.
You can use commands such as:
- “Send a [name of messaging app] message to [name of contact].”
- “Get me a Lyft to [name of destination].”
- “Post a message to [Facebook/Twitter].”
- “Pay [name] $20 with [PayPal/Square].”
Siri is not all business, though. You can have some fun and ask it more obscure questions if you like. Ask Siri to “flip a coin” or “roll the dice” and it actually will. There are also plenty of funny questions to ask Siri, and Apple adds new responses all the time, so try experimenting with Apple’s virtual assistant and you may be in for a few surprises.
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